The new administration at Basildon Council – could this be a (possibly brief) honeymoon period?

We recently wrote this post to explain that one of the reasons we weren’t putting up many posts about Basildon Council was that we were still trying to get a handle on what the new Tory administration will be like: Basildon… – 15.07.21. That’s still an ongoing process but there have been a couple of interesting developments.

Firstly, many of you will have been aware of the long running campaign mounted by local residents to secure the future of Laindon Community Centre. This is one of the posts we wrote about it: An uncertain future for a valued community asset – 01.02.21. Well, if this report from Basildon Nub News – Councillors commit cash for work and reopening of community centre – 16.07.21 – is anything to go by, it looks as though Basildon Council have actually listened to what residents want and are prepared to put up the money to facilitate that. That is a result:)

Also, there’s the long running resident led campaign to save a much loved open space close to Wickford town centre from developers. This is what we had to say on it earlier on this year: Save Wick Green – 30.03.21. Again, it looks as though Basildon Council are actually listening to their residents because they have reversed a decision to sell the land to developers and instead will be putting in plans to preserve it as a public open space in perpetuity. This is how the decision was covered by Basildon Nub News: Councillors confirm green site in Wickford will be saved – 15.07.21. Again, another result:) We’re having to pinch ourselves to make sure this isn’t just some weird dream!

As an aside, if the Tories on Basildon Council could pass on a few tips and tricks to their counterparts over the hills in Thurrock about actually listening to their residents and then following up on that by action that fulfils their wishes, it really would be appreciated!

What to make of this? This may be setting the tone for an administration that really wants to listen to their residents and make that a core part of their ethos. Then again, it may just be picking off some easy to reach, low hanging fruit before reverting to type. At the moment, it’s difficult to tell. Suffice to say that unlike Gavin Callaghan’s much reviled regime, it looks like we may have to take a more nuanced approach to the new administration at Basildon Council – well, for the moment anyway…

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